# Balanced and Unbalanced Forces

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©  2011  Office  of  STEM  Education  Partnerships,  Northwestern  University     Balanced  &  Unbalanced  Forces  –  Teacher  Overview  –  3  pages

### Balanced  and  Unbalanced  Forces

Lesson  Created  by

Carlos  Irizarry,  George  B.  Swift  Specialty  School,  Chicago,  Illinois

Purpose

To  fully  appreciate  and  make  a  connection  to  Newton’s  Laws,  students  must  explore  how   unbalanced  forces  cause  an  object  to  move.  Students  must  also  be  able  to  quantify  force  to   better  understand  the  nature  of  balanced  and  unbalanced  forces.

Overview

Students  will  use  the  Fourier  force  meters  to  investigate  the  net  force  of  a  sliding  block  and   observe  how  greater  unbalanced  force  results  in  greater  motion.    Students  will  also  observe   how  balanced  opposing  forces  create  net  zero  force  which  results  with  zero  motion.

Students  may  also  explore  how  greater  or  lesser  weight  of  an  object  requires  greater  or   lesser  force  to  move  that  object.  Using  the  HP  force  meter  and  tablets,  students  are  able  to   record  their  observations  quantitatively.  Students  also  develop  force  diagrams  to  publish   their  findings.

Student  Outcomes

Illinois  State  Standards:

• 11.A.3c:  Collect  and  record  data  accurately  using  consistent  measuring  and   recording  techniques  and  media.

• 11.A.3f:  Interpret  and  represent  results  of  analysis  to  produce  findings.   • 12.D.3a:  Explain  and  demonstrate  how  forces  affect  motion.

National  Science  Education  Standards:

• 8ASI1.3:  Use  appropriate  tools  and  techniques  to  gather,  analyze,  and  interpret   data.  The  use  of  tools  and  techniques,  including  mathematics,  will  be  guided  by  the   question  asked  and  the  investigations  students  design.  The  use  of  computers  for  the   collection,  summary,  and  display  of  evidence  is  part  of  this  standard.  Students   should  be  able  to  access,  gather,  store,  retrieve,  and  organize  data,  using  hardware   and  software  designed  for  these  purposes.

• 8ASI2.4:  Technology  used  to  gather  data  enhances  accuracy  and  allows  scientists  to   analyze  and  quantify  results  of  investigations.

• 8BPS2.1:  The  motion  of  an  object  can  be  described  by  its  position,  direction  of   motion,  and  speed.  That  motion  can  be  measured  and  represented  on  a  graph.

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©  2011  Office  of  STEM  Education  Partnerships,  Northwestern  University     Balanced  &  Unbalanced  Forces  –  Teacher  Overview  –  3  pages

Time

One  45-­‐minute  class  period     Level

8th  Grade  Physical  Science   Materials  and  Tools

• HP  tablet  computer

• HP  39gs  graphing  calculator  emulator  software   • HP  force  meter  (DT272)

• HP  StreamSmart  400   • Multiple  weighted  blocks   • Rubber  bands

• String,  yarn,  etc.

Preparation

• Test  all  force  meters  and  HP  tablets  and  make  certain  they  are  operational.     • Ensure  that  there  are  enough  materials  available  to  students  to  support  student

autonomy.

• Students  will  need  a  large,  flat  working  surface.     Prerequisites

• Students  should  have  a  working  understanding  of  forces,  friction,  weight,  gravity,   and  resistance.

• Force  diagrams  should  have  been  modeled  and  practiced  prior  to  this  activity.     Background

Students  should  also  be  well  trained  in  using  the  HP  force  meter  and  gathering  data  on  the   HP  tablets.

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©  2011  Office  of  STEM  Education  Partnerships,  Northwestern  University     Balanced  &  Unbalanced  Forces  –  Teacher  Overview  –  3  pages

Teaching  Notes

• A  class  tug-­‐o-­‐war  activity  can  be  a  very  fun  and  powerful  activity  to  help  solidify   their  budding  understanding  of  these  concepts.

• Weighted  blocks  can  be  substituted  for  any  other  materials  that  have  some  weight   and  small  resistance  to  moving.

This  work  is  supported  by  a  grant  from  Hewlett-­‐Packard  under  the  HP  Catalyst   Initiative.  However,  any  opinions,  findings,  conclusions  and/or  recommendations  are

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©  2011  Office  of  STEM  Education  Partnerships,  Northwestern  University     Balanced  &  Unbalanced  Forces  –  Student  Guide  –  3  pages

### needed  to  set  the  object  in  motion?

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©  2011  Office  of  STEM  Education  Partnerships,  Northwestern  University     Balanced  &  Unbalanced  Forces  –  Student  Guide  –  3  pages

## Block

### ____N

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©  2011  Office  of  STEM  Education  Partnerships,  Northwestern  University     Balanced  &  Unbalanced  Forces  –  Student  Guide  –  3  pages

### 7. Organize  your  thoughts  with  your  group  and  be  prepared  to  share  out  your

References

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